Netflix's Patches: Are They Here to Stay?

Netflix's Patches: Are They Here to Stay?

A couple of weeks ago I noticed this new feature while searching for a show to watch on my Smart TV. As of right now, I have no idea what these patches supposedly do or what their purpose is. However, by the time this article is complete, we will know more about what this new feature is supposed to accomplish.

I have tried looking on Netflix’s help page for some clarification on the feature, but alas no results. It seems very odd that they would roll out a new feature without even explaining it. Perhaps it’s marketing genius, where the user has to explore the patches on their own to discover how it works. If so? It’s definitely working.

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It appears that these new patches are geared towards children’s television. Patches are available for several of the following shows, Fuller House, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Trolls the Beat That Goes On, and Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh. Each series has a different amount of patches to earn. It appears that patches are consistent with the number of episodes each series has.

After several more days of searching a slew of articles by various news sources have posited that Netflix is gamifying binge watching. Indicating that Netflix wants to encourage the next generation of binge watchers. Netflix has issued a response to The Verge, saying that, “We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience, adding an element of fun and providing kids something to talk about and share around the titles they love.” I do not quite understand how collecting the patches is fun for children. This idea, to create a more interactive platform for younger viewers seems to be a bit far-fetched. The patches simply do not do anything, and since these patches are not shareable children cannot share their collection with their friends.There seems to be no purpose for collecting these patches. They are just fancy ways to indicate that you have watched the episode. It is speculated that the patches create a short boost of usage as Netflix seems to be encouraging children to binge watch their favorite television shows. As a result, reactions have been mixed. An article from Entertainment Weekly shows various reactions from different individuals on Twitter.

The photo below shows the user’s collection. This picture indicates that I have zero patches collected.

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After each episode the user is allowed to pick one of three mystery boxes. The boxes contain a patch. This must be done within 20 seconds. After the 20 seconds expires the box is automatically chosen for the user. However, after picking several different boxes, the patch that is picked always corresponds to the episode watched.

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This is what the collection looks like once I have collected all thirteen patches. This is it. There is no reward or concession for collecting all of the patches. You just fill in virtual slots. The patches do not do anything special. It is completely useless.

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In a comment, Netflix has stated that “it was testing out this feature, patches weren’t guaranteed to be a permanent addition, ‘We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience.’” Only time will tell if Netflix will alter this new feature or scrap it completely. If Netflix were to offer sneak-peak or behind-the-scenes videos as an incentive to complete a collection, then it could be a nifty feature. However, as it is now, it is unlikely that the patches will go over well with users if they remain in their current form.

Follow this author on Twitter: @jrichardson1776  

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